Today is February the 14th.. a day on modern calendars that is full of red roses, heart shaped candy & in some cases unnecessary pressure to be loved by a S/O & be in love with them too.
On a scale of the Anti - Valentines parade to an overly commercialised love fest.. we here at Husk and Honey sit pretty neutral on the whole affair! Love to give gifts? Go for it!! (Just try support local and ethical). Just another day, you’d prefer not to take any notice of? Totally get that too. Either way, we believe it’s best to take away the pressure, show yourself some well deserved love (the kinda love you should be showing yourself daily) and do what works best for you!!
However, upon waking up this morning the thought struck me… like most now commercialised days (St paddy’s, Easter, Christmas) there is often a rich history hidden behind the avaricious nature of these celebrations… and Valentines, is no exception!
*warning, some slightly graphic content to come.
Pin pointing the origin of this day of love, is quite difficult… however NPR discuss the possible dark origins of Valentine’s Day, leading back to Ancient Rome where the feast of Lupercalia was celebrated between the 13th & 15th of Feb. A celebration where Roman Men would sacrifice animals and Woman would line up to be whipped by the hides of the animals - said to promote fertility (we won’t go into any more details).
NPR continues to discuss how “the ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love”. On February the 14th, Emperor Claudius II executed two men, who were both named Valentine. These 2 executions were years apart, but both within the 3rd century A.D. “Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day” (NPR).
St Valentine (Via History.Com)
Other theories refer more closely to St Valentine, a name we all know - but a history that remains a bit of a mystery. The History Channel discusses how the origins may lie in St Valentines letter writing. It's said that St. Valentine wrote the first “valentine” to a young girl he tutored and fell in love with while he was imprisoned for secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers against the emperor's wishes (country living). According to The History Channel, before Saint Valentine’s death, he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,".
Finally we have a theory by the University of Kansas English professor, the late Jack B. Oruch. Outlined by country living, Oruch had a different theory - he determined that the poet Geoffrey Chaucer linked love with St. Valentine for the first time in some of his 14th-century works. Oruch claimed that Chaucer invented the Valentine's Day as we know it today.
A Valentine’s Day postcard from 1910. UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP / GETTY IMAGES
However the day may have come to be… there is no question that in the early years of the 1910’s Commercial America jumped on the bandwagon, with (to begin with) one American company distributing more official "Valentine's Day cards." Others followed with flowers, candy & jewellery.
At the end of the day, it turns out that no one really knows the true origins behind this well storied day. However, what we do know is that it is not only the commercialised modern holiday that we often refer to it as.
Happy Valentines from us! Whatever you get up to, please know you are loved & remember to love yourself!!